by Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
I’ve been listening to a podcast for the past few months whilst running, it’s been a revelation; I get to have some “me time” whilst learning at the same time…which as a stay at home mama is something of a luxury. Anyway, the podcast is called Revisionist History and it’s by well known Author/Journalist Malcolm Gladwell. I’ve blown through 2 seasons and started the third a few weeks ago, having to wait from week to week is the worst…it’s like watching a series on TV, old school, without Netflix…I mean, who does that anymore??? Excruciating, right?
Anyway, I listened to the latest episode of RevHist, “General Chapman’s Last Stand” yesterday whilst running and it stopped me in my tracks, so much so I had to wipe the tears from my face, take a deep breath and pull myself together before restarting my run.
The subject matter was Mexican Immigration.
I’m not one to keep quiet when I see injustice, I’ve written my thoughts on that before, and this subject has been heavy on my heart since last week, so I thought I would share what stopped me in my tracks….
In the US, before the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act that militarised the border, Americans didn’t know they had an immigration problem. Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalisation Services, General Leonard Chapman, an ex-Marine Corp Commandant for 37 years, who passed the 1986 Act convinced Americans they did, and that the problem was so severe it needed to be dealt with. Expeditiously.
From 1965-1985 – The Mexican Migration Project found that Mexicans who came to the US were able to work, get paid and go home at the end of each working season; as many as 85% of undocumented workers returned to Mexico.
When the borders are closed and heavily patrolled, migrants continue to cross, as the financial need remains the same, though they cross in dangerous, brutal areas; where the risk is high and more costly, so instead of going home, they stay put, then in time reunify with families by bringing them to the US. After 1986, they became The Dreamers.
A wall that was built to keep Mexican migrants out, has in fact, kept them in.
For the people who have studied undocumented migrants and border enforcement for many years this is a frustrating situation to witness today. They believe, and have evidence to support, that when enforcing a border on a country, a “less is more” approach is best.
What is happening now is the opposite of what should happen; by reducing the border control you encourage people to return home to their families. (I keep saying home because for the majority of immigrants, home is where their identity lies, it’s where they feel a sense of belonging, it’s where they want to put down roots, where they don’t suffer hatred and segregation on a daily basis. It’s home!)
Douglas S. Massey, professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton, a key researcher on the Mexican Migrant Project goes so far as to suggest that Mexicans should be given green cards to work, then they would return home to Mexico.
What we’re talking about here is Circular Migration.
The US isn’t a friendly place at the moment for people of Mexican heritage anyway… why make it harder for workers to go home?? Unless, of course, they are passing the border seeking asylum, fleeing persecution or war; put plainly – FEARING FOR THEIR LIFE.
I find it so very difficult to accept that people have lost their humanity. And, if we have learned nothing from our history then I will leave you with this…
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” – Anne Frank
What are your thoughts?
Do good fences make good neighbours? Do we really need a wall to keep Pine and Apple trees apart?